On a Different Scale
A pair of bills aimed at regulating genetically altered fish in food and the environment are facing a bitter fight in the California legislature. One of the proposed laws, a consumer right-to-know bill requiring the labeling of unpackaged transgenic fish in retail stores, passed the state Senate on Monday, but it must be approved by the Assembly by Saturday (the last day of the session) if it is to survive. Meanwhile, a tabled bill designed to keep live transgenic fish out of state waters was revived this week in light of a report recently released by the U.S. National Research Council warning of the dangers posed by such fish to wild populations. But both bills are opposed by the formidably strong biotechnology, grocery, and agriculture industries. If either bill passes, California would be the first state to impose such strict controls on genetically modified fish.